Guanzon: Chairman Bautista should run barangay polls alone

Paterno R. Esmaquel II
Guanzon: Chairman Bautista should run barangay polls alone
Commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s comment comes after all 6 Comelec commissioners issued a memo criticizing Chairman Andres Bautista for his supposed 'failed leadership'

MANILA, Philippines – Days after signing a memo criticizing elections chief Andres Bautista, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said Bautista should run the upcoming barangay elections alone. 

“Perhaps it’s about time that Chairman Bautista runs an election,” Guanzon said in an interview with reporters on Monday, June 27.

Guanzon said Comelec commissioners Christian Lim and Luie Guia also don’t want to handle the “operations part” of the barangay elections in October.

“We will just focus on our cases,” Guanzon said, referring to cases pending before the Comelec First Division composed of Lim, Guia, and Guanzon. 

Asked if she thinks Bautista has not run an election, Guanzon answered: “Well, by himself. Because you know, it’s better that he does it by himself. So that, you know, you can give credit where credit is due.”

Guanzon was also asked why she wants Bautista to run the barangay elections alone when she has stressed that the Comelec is a collegial body.

The commissioner replied: “Well, you have a point there, but you know…. The directors are under his direct supervision, he should just directly supervise them. Because in the last elections, it was really Commissioner Christian Lim, who was the chair of the steering committee, he was coordinating everything.”

Asked if she believes that Bautista is lazy, she replied, “I think they are fairly disorganized there in his office.”

Bautista: ‘Malungkot ‘yon’

While Guanzon appeared serious about her proposal, it was unclear how she wants Bautista to run the barangay elections “by himself.” The Comelec, however, usually assigns a steering committee head for each election. For the May 9 elections this year, the steering committee head was Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim.

The steering committee head acts as a project head in charge of the nitty gritty of a particular election season.

Guanzon’s comments came after all 6 Comelec commissioners issued a memo criticizing Bautista for his supposed “failed leadership” of the poll body.

Sought for reaction, Bautista said the Comelec would probably discuss the proposal for him to run the barangay elections alone. “Kung ‘yun talaga ang kanilang pananaw, tingnan natin, pero malungkot ‘yon,” he said. (If that is really their view, let’s consider it, but that is sad.)

In any case, Bautista said he would not resign from the poll body despite criticism of all 6 commissioners against him.

He also said he is open to discussing issues against him by his fellow Comelec members.

Bautista, however, said he wants respect and courtesy in their dealings. 

At kung kami man ay hindi nagkakasundo, hindi dapat nagkakaroon ng binubulyawan o sinisigawan,” he said. (And if we have disagreements, we shouldn’t have shouting matches or screaming.)

He added, “‘Yung mga sigawan, ‘yung mga binubulyawan, hindi po tama ‘yon.” (Shouting matches, screaming, that is not right.) 

When asked to identify the person who screams during their meetings, Bautista laughed. He did not identify the colleague he was criticizing. 

The Comelec is set to hold a meeting on Tuesday, June 28, to discuss issues surrounding the poll body. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email